Saturday, May 21, 2011

Applying for a Fulbright Student Grant

The Spring 2011 semester just ended last week, but a week prior to that I found out that I will most likely be taking my comprehensive exams in Spring 2012. This means I will be free to conduct my research for my dissertation as early as next summer. Since I am planning to collect my data overseas, I need to explore as many funding opportunities as possible. The most lucrative option is the Fulbright Program for US Students.

I intend on applying for the 2012-2013 academic year, and the deadline is relatively soon, September 2011. The application process is quite extensive in both time and work. Here is what I have ready for the application so far:
  • Target country
  • 3 faculty references
  • A list of potential affiliates within the target country
For the last one, I'm in the process of finding the most tactful and reliable way of contacting these affiliates. I believe this will be the most stressful part of the application process.

Other components I need to have ready for the application are:
  • The application form itself, which I started last week
  • Statement of purpose, which shouldn't be difficult as I have already written a final project that is directly related to this grant
  • Personal statement, which shouldn't be difficult except for confining it to one page
  • Language report form. The self-evaluation will be easy, but the foreign language evaluation may prove humbling.
  • Transcripts, which are very easy to get as I am on campus
Upon satisfactory completion of my comprehensive exams in Spring 2012, plan A is living and researching in the target country under a Fulbright grant for the duration of 10 months starting in August 2012.

Plan B is living, working, and researching in an alternative target country for 3 years with 2 of those years dedicated to research and the third to finish up the working contract and apply for university jobs in the United States. I will implement this plan if I am denied a Fulbright grant for the 2012-2013 academic year, however I will reapply for the 2013-2014 academic year as I have 1 more year of financial support to stay in Iowa City.

Plan C is living, researching, and most likely working in a third target country for 1-2 years, hopefully in the sister university of the University of Iowa. This plan will be implemented if I am denied a second time by Fulbright and I was unsuccessful in obtaining a job in the second target country. I have plans beyond C, but I am confident that I need not go beyond plan C.

Three weeks ago, I thought I would be taking comprehensive exams in Fall 2012, thus making plan A start a year later. So when I heard from my advisor that it was possible to comp earlier, my long-term planning suddenly became short-term planning. It took me about a week to be comfortable with this change. My wife was the most delighted person to hear about this change as we wouldn't need another year of living off student loans.

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